Copy right Des Pensable, 2017.
A couple of weeks ago NSW Premier Mike Baird’s self-righteous short jaunt of blatant authoritarian neoliberalism and corporate cronyism ended, when he finally fell on his sword after mass public protests and his popularity crashing to a dismal low. His reckless crusade to privatise everything, together with his vandalism of our culture, our civil structure, social institutions and the environment finally caught up with him.
After he was instrumental in the Nationals losing the Orange bye election by the biggest margin in state history, owing to the Greyhound Industry fiasco, he was seen to be endangering the fragile Liberal / National Party unity. They were scared witless about their future election chances so he had to go. His willingness to leave has rewarded him with a plum job in the NAB with a million dollar per year salary.
When the party asked for volunteers, to take up the poisoned chalice that he had left behind, only one person was game, Gladys Berejiklian. You have to give her credit for that, although it’s doubtful that she will be allowed to reverse any of her party’s anti-social, corporate sponsored, shadow government agenda.
We need to remember that the NSW Liberal party was considered the most corrupt government in Australia, after the NSW ICAC found a massive network of corruption within it. Indeed Mike Baird gained leadership of the party after his predecessor Barry O’Farrel, resigned after being accused of a bribe.
So Gladys Berejiklian is most likely there to try to fool the gullible public that the Liberals and Nationals are not the psychopathic corrupt corporate shills that they plainly still are.
For the record, its worth examining the legacy that this smug banker left, after his wild orgy of sociopathic, neoliberal, ideological, slash and burn policies, during his short two and half years as the leader of the Liberals.
- Privatisation of Everything.
There are lots of reasons why privatisation doesn’t work. Regardless of the majority of NSW citizens against privatisation of the NSW power network, the dauntless Premier Baird decided to sell it off anyway . First went Transgrid to a foreign consortium for $10 billion. Next went half of Ausgrid to an Aussie consortium for $16 billion. What were Mr Baird and the Liberals going to do with all this money? Well they’re not sure. What we can be sure of is that the real estate, property barons and bankers will do well.
The state’s power grid wasn’t the only thing he decided to privatise. He started selling land and buildings all over the state netting another $3 billion. Some sales have attracted considerable controversy such as selling the Power House Museum to developers, causing substantial opposition from Sydneysiders.
Of course no privatisation plan would be complete, without privatisation of five state hospitals even though previous attempts have led to real messes. Of course, sale of Long Bay Prison and more prison privatisation is also on the cards even though private prisons have been found to have serious problems.
The latest plan has been to privatise the NSW Land Titles Department. However, this has run into serious opposition, as it’s been revealed that it is more profitable, even in the shorter term to keep in under government control. We shouldn’t forget Sydney’s trains. There’s always plans to sell the trains off.
There is no plan yet to sell off the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House although I did suggest that it might happen in a satire before the last election.
- Forced Council Amalgamations
In September, 2014 the NSW Government released its Fit for the Future (FFTF) program, following a three-year Independent Review of Local Government. The Greens were highly critical of the terms of reference of the review.
The announcement forced dozens of democratically elected mayors and council members out of a job, to be replaced by Baird appointed administrators until new council elections can be held next year.
The people in merged council areas have been very vocal, disrupting councils and claiming a loss of identity and grass roots representation. They have also been highly critical of government claims of public involvement and some of the appointed administrators.
A Liberal donor who donated $150,000 to Liberal election fund, the “Queensland based software company Technology One Limited, has emerged as the biggest winner so far from Baird’s forced amalgamation agenda, with the company picking up an estimated $10 million worth of directly negotiated contracts from just three newly amalgamated councils.”
After the Nationals lost the Orange bye election, they panicked as there was massive resistance to the council amalgamations in their electorates. Consequently, as soon as Mike Baird resigned, the leader of the Nationals John Barilaro, bravely claimed that they would stop further rural council amalgamations. The new Premier has stated she is prepared to ‘listen to the community’ and is considering cancelling many of the mergers.
- Westconnex – Dispossessing Sydneysiders of their Homes
WestConnex is a motorway scheme currently in the early stages of construction in Sydney. The scheme proposes to build or upgrade some 33 kilometres, to the Sydney motorway network. The total cost of WestConnex is estimated at $15 billion and has been described as “the biggest transport project in Sydney since the Harbour Bridge”.
It has been criticised by the NSW Auditor General, over failures of proper governance. The Lord Major of Sydney, Clover Moore, has called for an independent inquiry into it. The Greens strongly oppose it while Labor appears to be in favour of the project. It has been the subject of escalating public protest where residents in affected suburbs, have predicted wide spread non-violent public disobedience.
- Lock Out Laws by Wowsers
Perhaps the final nail in the coffin with wowser Premier Baird, for many of the young in Sydney was, the Sydney lock out laws. These led to a thousands strong protest in February 2016. The laws dramatically curtailed the revelry in the centre of Sydney, by restricting the hours for purchase of alcohol and closing the numerous pubs, bars, discos, clubs and restaurants at 3 am.
It was also widely criticised by not only the many businesses catering for the revelry but also may in Mike Baird’s own party. A recent review was carried out where over 1800 submissions were made both for and against the lock out laws.
When Mike Baird departed, organisers of the Keep Sydney Open group vowed to keep fighting the laws stating.
“Under Premier Baird’s lockout laws Sydneysiders have seen the city’s international reputation tarnished, and its vibrancy, energy and positivity diminished. Inner-city small businesses have been devastated, and crashing gate receipts for music and performance in the state of NSW threaten the future of the cultural life of the state.”
The Lock Out laws were finally relaxed a little in December, 2016
- NSW TAFE Wilful Destruction by Education Terrorists
There has been massive growing concern and opposition to the Baird government privatisation of the NSW TAFE and the subsequent loss of thousands of TAFE students. In a Vote Compass survey in 2015, 70.7% of 36,000 in NSW voted that TAFE should receive more funding while only 3.1 %, that it should receive less funding.
Over the four years up until mid 2016 the number of students enrolled in the NSW TAFE decreased by 126,000 and 5,200 support staff were sacked. The minster then announced another review . This time the despicable idiots dumped carpentry, plumbing and painters trade courses despite a nation wide shortage.
Apprentice numbers in western Sydney, have dropped by 15,000. While the total lost across the country, is 28% of Australia’s workforce of apprentices, from 383,562 to 278,583. One obvious reason for less students, was humungous course fee rises of up to 7000% increase over a 3 year period.
A report highly critical of the Baird government’s privatisation of TAFE concluded, that it was failing. NSW people are not happy with the destruction of the TAFE by the Baird government and are unhappy with the quality of the private courses, judging by the increasing ‘drop out’ rates.
The reason for the apparent wilful destruction of the NSW TAFE system, has become obvious with the leaking of a secret Turnbull government plan to take over the nation’s TAFE courses and privatise the whole system. Thousands of NSW kids have been robbed of a decent future.
- CSG Mining to Pollute the Air , Water and Land
Coal seam gas (GSG) mining has been very controversial in NSW for several years, with considerable opposition to it throughout the state of NSW, especially in the Sydney catchment area and outer Sydney suburbs.
At Bentley in northern NSW there was a real battle to stop it being introduced with hundreds blocking the gas company’s drilling rig. The government threatened to send hundreds of police to break up the protest camp ‘Liberty’, but at the last minute pulled back from the confrontation.
CSG became an election issue with the Baird government promising to buy back the most controversial gas mining leases which it did. However, it refused to ban CSG mining altogether and later decided to offer more leases for sale again. So much for election promises.
More than two thirds of Australians and 85% of NSW residents polled around the state, are in favour of a total CSG ban, but the government refuses. Consequently, there are anti-CSG protests all over the state.
- New Coal Mines to Make Global Warming Worse
Australia has signed to the Paris Global Warming agreement to reduce carbon emissions. Global warming scientists have called for more than 90% of fossil fuels to be kept in the ground to avoid catastrophic Global Warming. However, the Australian government has decided not to support keeping our coal in the ground but rather the opposite, to sell as much as possible as quickly as possible.
In NSW there has been much controversy and protest over the destruction of the Leard State forest, to build the Whitehaven coal mine and recently, the approval for the Shenhua company to build a large coal mine on fertile farming land in the Liverpool plains. Secret plans have also been leaked, to build as many as 16 more new mines in the Hunter valley.
This has caused large numbers of the usually conservative farming community, to stage noisy protests against both the Baird and federal LNP governments. The farmers are also unhappy with the Nationals which support CSG and coal mining in NSW.
- New State Land Clearing Laws to Decimate the Wildlife
In May, the Government released a draft package of biodiversity and land management reforms. It included scrapping the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the Native Vegetation Act 2003. The package also detailed amendments to the Local Land Services Act 2013 in relation to native vegetation land management in rural areas, as well as the animal and plant provisions of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.
The Government received more than 7,000 submissions in total, with over 5,000 from the Stand Up for Nature alliance of conservation groups, which oppose the changes. The basis of the objections are twofold.
Clearing more land will release lots of carbon to the atmosphere making it harder for Australia to fulfill its carbon emissions target, set in the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The second is that it will destroy a wide range of habitat, leading to native species extinction. The new laws have led to protests by conservationists and has left farmers divided.
- Repressive Anti-Social Police State Laws
In March 2016 the Baird government bought in a law banning protests. Needless to say, there were immediate protests about the law changes, from the public, opposition party politicians and concerned lawyers worried about the trends in Australia to curtail citizen’s rights.
It sounds crazy to any sane person, but it will be illegal for ordinary citizens to non- violently and peacefully protest about fossil fuel companies poisoning their air and water. A poll found that 61.4% of NSW citizens are opposed to the new laws.
Actions as simple as locking a gate or blocking a driveway can be illegal. They are liable to $5500 fines for obstructing any company going about its business poisoning the environment and 7 years in gaol for their civic moral duty to take care of their neighbours and families.
The anti-Protest laws are only some a several new laws by the Liberal government to turn NSW into an authoritarian police state environment, restricting personal freedom and destroying our hard won democracy. The Greens believe police powers have become excessive. So much for a ‘fair go’ from our sociopathic government.
- Attack on ICAC to Weaken Its Power to Stop Political Corruption
ICAC is the NSW independent statutory body which has investigated public officials and politicians from all sides of politics since 1989, including disgraced Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, a rat’s nest of corruption in the Liberal party where 11 members of parliament had to step down in 9 months and Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell, was forced to resign over a “massive memory fail”.
More recently ICAC’s Operation Spicer investigated dodgy Liberal party fundraising ahead of the 2011 state election and found massive irregularities leading to the withholding of government election funding and charges against some Liberals.
Premier Mike Baird before he resigned led an attack on ICAC to have its powers reduced which has been seen as payback by the Liberal Party over ICAC finding so many of the Liberal party to be corrupt. This would undoubtedly make him a hero among all the corrupt politicians, business conmen and crooks that lurk in the shadows of political life in NSW. The people of NSW will remember this act of bastardry Mr Baird.
Mike Baird the banker, saw an opportunity to move up in the world by joining the most corrupt government in Australian history. He has excelled in the latest political hit and run tactics of the liberal Party by bailing out before an election so as to not have to face the public in the next elections.
His excellent record of reckless destruction of the state’s culture, society, infrastructure and environment has been noticed and applauded by the more psychopathic members of our plutocratic hidden shadow government. Consequently he has been promoted by the banking sector to a high paying job where he can continue to inflict neoliberal ideological madness upon the unsuspecting public.
If you liked this post share it with others.
You might also like the following posts by Des Pensable